This past Sunday, over 3,000 Chabad-Lubavitch women emissaries and their guests participated in the annual gala banquet in Manhattan, culminating a five-day International Conference of Women Emissaries of the Rebbe.
An event in wich I had the honor of participating when I was growing up in shlichut in Paraguay. An event in which the most asked question was 'What's your name and where are you from?' The first frequently answered with "Chaya Mushka" being that most of my age group friends, like myself, were named after the Rebbe's wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson. And the latter by naming any city or country you could pin in a map.
As a little girl I was tought that I was part of the Rebbe's army, that I was playing an important role in bettering the world and in preparing it for the imminent coming of Moshiach. It is no wonder then, that I took such pride in my parents work and spiritual labor, that till the age of 16 when we had to move to Buenos Aires there was no other occupation that my mind could have envisioned for my future. Of course, I would pretend to be a hairdresser when I played with my dolls as a little girl, and I actually toyed with the idea of becoming a midwife because my grandfather was a doctor and babies are cute. But who was I kidding, my dream was to be a shlucha, I wanted to be part of the elite of this spiritual army and I was going to make my Rebbe proud! I was going to make a difference.
After we left Paraguay, the twists and turns of life found me many a time pondering on the mission that was no more, on the dreams of getting married and joining my parents in their shlichus. Who was I now that my identity was no longer Chaya Mushka, shlucha of Asuncion, Paraguay? What was my place? What was my task?
This year's honorary guest to the Shluchos' banquet, Mrs. Rhoda Dermer, wife of Israel's ambassador to the U.S., shared stories about the Rebbetzin's humility and characteristic low profile, which didn't prevent her from accomplishing incredibly great things anonymously and which –as she pointed out– teach us a simple yet invaluable lesson: it is not necesary to be a Rebbe's wife in order to make a difference.
Shlichut means mission. And in our mission to make this world a better place we are all equal. We should all use the resources around us to illuminate the world with goodness and kindness. In the Rebbe's words: "If G-d gave you [...] talents, you must utilize them all in fulfilling your personal role and mission. This is not your personal matter, which you may treat as you wish. These talents, opportunities... if they are left unused, they are in vain."
I hold in the highest regard all the shluchim that are scattered around in places I can't even pronounce correctly, and the shluchim in the big cities who face big challenges as well. But there's a shliach inside of everyone. And the spark of a little shlucha lives in me constantly trying to make a difference, constantly trying to be like my Rebbetzin.
My shlichut is in my work, in my art and in my day to day encounters. It is the drops of inspiration that I try to insert between the lines. It is the message I try to convey through my music and paintings. It is the respect and love we learn to have for every human being.
In this crazy world everyone is taking sides. Wether you are a republican or a democrat, wether you are still celebrating the last minute win of the Patriots or whether you have an opinion on the measles vaccine following the latest outbreak. There's still one thing that is larger than our differences, wherever we are, we face a land called home and whatever our needs, we have a people to call family.
My home is my Beis Chabad and my goal is the same as every other shliach's.
Lechaim to the shluchim around the world and to the shliach inside of us!